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 Issue no 10 - March/April 2000

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Welcome to the tenth issue of the Teddington and Kew Cheese Wire. We have all recovered from a hectic Christmas and New Year season . Our pre-order and collection service for our local customers was well received, allowing us to reserve their favourite cheeses and saving them the hour long queues which sometimes develop during this busy time. Many thanks for to those who preferred to queue (or forgot to pre-order) for their happy Christmas spirit, it never fails to amaze us how cheerful our Christmas queuers are. Next year we are considering handing out Carol sheets and lanterns.

Our mail order service was equally as busy and we were able to keep our order line open until a week before Christmas. Many apologies to those who tried to place orders in the final few days before Christmas but by this time we had reached our maximum capacity and stocks of our farm-house cheeses had already been exhausted. We do send out reminders (by post and e-mail) to all those on our mailing list encouraging them to place orders early and we will do the same again next Christmas. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to be added to our mailing list.

This Millennium year is promising to be as exciting as the last and we hope to bring you many more exciting cheeses and products during the year.

Drawing of a mouse on a cheese wire


Oh!! for the joy of real butter
Have you got a cheesey name?

Cheese Focus

Making the perfect Fondue

Tools of the Trade
Scotch Hands

Paint a picture

and last months competition winner

Drawing showing cheese making a long time ago

Have you got a cheesey name?

Nowadays we all have both a first name and surname by which we are known. Many hundreds of years ago things were very different. Because the majority of people could neither read or write and forms onto which to put our names did not exist, people were simply known as Tom or John. Sometimes a second name would be used referring either to a family name (in Scotland they would use the prefix Mc or Mac which basically means 'son of') or to their trade.

Some trades are easily recognised such as Carpenter, Baker or Potter. As far as cheese is concerned there are names with obvious connections such as:

Cheeseman - maker or seller of cheese
Cheesewright - maker or seller of cheese Cowherd - from cowherd
Coward - also from cowherd
Cowley - from the cow pastures
Shepherd - one who tended sheep. Cheese made from ewes' milk was the norm before cattle were introduced so extensively.

and some less obvious ones:

Byers - from the cow sheds
Boothby - from the farm with cow byres
Day - from dairy-maid or dairy-man both from dey-ery
Furminger - derived from the old word 'furmage' meaning cheese (now fromage in French)
Ringer or Wringer - a cheese press used to be called a wringer and was used to squeeze the whey from the curds

The old word 'wick' means a group of buildings where dairy farming was carried out and gives us...

Batherick - from the dairy farm where the bladderwort grows
Denwick - from the dairy farm in the valley
Fenwick - from the dairy farm in the fen
Howick - from the dairy farm on the 'hough' (Lancashire) Sedgewick - from the dairy farm in the reed beds
Wicken - from the dairy farm
Witcher - a dweller at the dairy farm

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Cheese Focus Cheese Focus Cheese Focus
Photograph of Gruyere Reserve cheese
Gruyère Reservé


Gruyère was first made in the dairying canton of Fribourg during the 12th century and took its name from the town of Gruyère. Old records exist which show that Gruyère was used by farmers to pay tithes to the monks of Rougement Abbey. During the 16th century it was exported to France and Italy and although it has been extensively copied it is still hard to beat the genuine Swiss Gruyère. The cheese travels well since it retains its quality for a very long time - the Swiss call it 'the cheese that never gets tired' and also refer to it as 'the grand old lady'. Since cheeses are large, each using over 400 litres of milk, they tend to be made by groups of farmers working in cooperatives. Gruyère is made using 'unpasteurised' milk from the black and white Fribourg breed of cow. Although it is often referred to as 'unpasteurised' milk it is in fact heat-treated. This process is not as severe as pasteurisation and consequently much of the natural flora in the milk is preserved and this yields delicious flavours in the resulting cheese.

The excellent melting and cooking properties of Gruyère are a result of the process used to make the cheese - Gruyère is a 'hard-pressed cooked cheese'. The junket is cut into small cubes (junket is the name given to the blancmange-like mass formed when rennet has been added to milk, which then coagulates and sets) which begin to release the liquid within them, called whey. The drying cubes, called curds, then float around in the whey. The mass is heated and is held for a time at a set temperature. During this time the curds shrink to the size of peas and become harder.

When the cooked curds reach a certain hardness and size the whey is drained off and the curds placed into a mould and put under a press. High pressures are used to produce a dense and heavy cheese.

Gruyère cheeses are matured in cellars and are regularly turned. Their rinds are always kept moist to prevent cracking. The rind becomes reddish-brown and tough, the paste is yellow with the occasional pea-sized hole. The cheese is sometimes sold at five months when it cuts easily, but the flavour is still mild. At least twelve months of maturation is needed to yield its magnificent nutty flavour. The Gruyère stocked at The Teddington Cheese is matured for over 12 months - it is known as Gruyère Reservé.

The great chefs of the last few centuries have used Gruyère extensively in their recipes. The Swiss have used it to create one of their most famous national dishes - the fondue. Because of Gruyère's excellent melting properties (melting smoothly and without the 'stringy' texture of Emmental) it has become invaluable for making gratins, for grilling and in soups. Because of its success in the kitchen it is unfortunate that it is often overlooked when deciding on a cheeseboard. Gruyère Reservé makes an excellent contribution to a cheeseboard and is best enjoyed with a crisp white or light red wine.

Each cheese measures approximately 1 metre in diameter, is 10cm thick, weighs from 20 to 45kg and has a fat content of 48%.

£1.21 per 100g, £1.42 per quarter or Whole wedge (4kg) £10.63 per kg

Oh!! for the joy of real butter

There are few things I enjoy more than hot toast generously topped with melting farm-house butter. Unfortunately, I am bombarded with the latest thinking that I should be eating this or that brand of highly processed butter substitute all of which proclaiming to taste like real butter but failing miserably to do so. I would like to return to a simple common sense approach - there is nothing more wholesome than unadulterated milk which is churned to produce unbeatable farm-house butter. Eaten as part of a balanced diet with exercise it can't fail to provide nothing but real pleasure. Of course, I can never stop at just one slice of hot buttered toast but I am willing to accept the penalty of having to run an extra mile.

How butter is made Butter is obtained by churning cream. The cream can be either fresh or slightly soured although slightly soured cream tends to give better results. Cream is soured using a special butter starter and once introduced it is allowed to stand at 21C for 12 hours. After ripening the cream is cooled to 4.5 to 7C for several hours to allow the fat to harden. The cream is then allowed to warm to 10 to 18C, 10C in the warmer weather and 18C in cooler weather and is poured into a butter churn. Paddles slowly agitate the cream causing it to thicken and separate into butter grains and buttermilk. Cold water at 10C is then added and then it is agitated again. Added water is necessary to help the cream to 'break' but the water should not exceed 25% of the total volume of cream. Churning continues until the butter granules are about the size of wheat grains. The buttermilk is then poured off and the remaining butter grains washed with cold water by chuuning them together. The water is then run off. This washing process is very important since it ensures that all the butter milk is washed out of the butter. Otherwise the butter will not keep and go rancid.

With the wash water drained off, the butter grains mat together and can be removed from the churn then placed onto a wooden board. The board is sloped a little to aid remaining water to drain away. The butter is patted with the scotch hands to press out the water. It is patted into a thin layer, folded over and then patted again. Salt can also be sprinkled onto the butter at the ratio of 0 to 2 teaspoons per 500 grammes (or per pound) according to taste. The butter is finally patted into shape and then wrapped in waxed paper and then stored in a cool place.
Tools of the Trade
Drawing of Scotch Hands
Scotch Hands

Farm made butter uses the cream directly from whole milk whereas commercially made butter is made by extracting small amounts of cream from whey, a by-product of cheese-making, using large centrifuges.

At The Teddington Cheese we sell two types of real unpasteurised farm-made butter, Montgomery's slightly salted and Normandy unsalted.

Photograph of a churn of Normandy unsalted farmhouse butter

Photograph of Montgomerys salted farmhouse butter

Above: Montgomery’s salted butter £1.46 per 250g pack

Left: Normandy unsalted butter £0.76 per 100g, £0.86 per quarter. 1/4 churn (1.25kg) £6.46 per kg

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Drawing of an egg laying hen

Goodbye eggs

Over the past few years we have been supplied fresh free-range eggs by Kevin and Alison Blunt of Greenacres Farm in West Sussex together with their goats' milk cheeses. Kevin and Alison and have gradually been reducing their egg laying capacity in favour of providing further grazing for their goats. It is with regret that their production has now ceased and we are now searching for a new 'true' free range egg supplier with happy hens.

Fondue and raclette sets
for sale and hire

Photograph of a Swiss fondue set

For Sale
Swiss 'Alpe' fondue set 60.00
(complete with pot, stand, burner, 6 forks and 6 plates)
Raclette 'Ambiance' for half cheeses 160.00
Raclette ' Party' for quarter cheeses 110.00

Hire service
(for those who live close to our Teddington and Kew shops)
Fondue set 10.00 per day
Raclette 'Ambiance' 8.00 per day
Raclette 'Party' 5.00 per day

Photograph of a raclette sets



Paint a Picture

Many children visit our shops and our web site regularly to help choose cheeses for their families. In this issue we are having a competition to involve our younger readers. The aim is to paint or draw a picture related to cheese or cheese making. It could be a picture of a milk cow, sheep or goat, a picture of cheese being made or enjoyed or simply a picture of a cheese itself. The winning picture will be printed in black and white on the front cover of the next issue of the Teddington & Kew Cheese Wire and in full colour on our internet version of the Cheese Wire which is sent to customers all over the world. Entrants must be under the age of 16.

All entries must be received by 15th April 2000 (please include your name, address and telephone number). The winner will receive the 'Cheeses for May' selection from The Teddington Cheese Club. Entries will be accepted by post or e-mail.

Competition now over
See issue 11 for details of the winning entry

The winner of the last competition, Celebrity Cheese, was Clive Nutton of Shipley, West Yorkshire with:

Gjetost is the Bjork of cheeses, outwardly peculiar and inwardly odd. The combination is an unexpected polar symphony, an aurora borealis, hard to explain.

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition.

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Fondue started life in Switzerland as a rustic affair using leftover scraps of cheese, and although nowadays the ingredients may be more sophisticated it is still a sociable and down-to-earth dish with everyone sharing from the same pot. The famous Swiss cheeses Gruyere, Emmental and Appenzeller remain the most popular fondue ingredients but good results can also be achieved by adding Comtè, Beaufort, Raclette or Tete de Moine to the mixture. We are often asked for advice on how to prepare the perfect fondue, and so here is a classic recipe.

Swiss Fondue
(serves 4)


1/2 clove garlic
500g Gruyere
250g Emmental
150g Appenzeller
350ml/1/2 bottle dry white wine
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons cornflour
1 1/2 tablespoons kirsch
pinch of nutmeg
freshly ground pepper

To prepare:

Rub the inside of your fondue pot with the cut surface of the garlic. Grate the cheeses and put them in the pot. Mix the cornflour with the lemon juice and then add to the cheese together with the wine. Heat the mixture gently on your kitchen stove until the cheese melts, stirring frequently to achieve a smooth consistency.

Take care not to let the cheese boil (if your fondue pot is the ceramic type do this part in a saucepan and then transfer the melted cheese back into the fondue pot). Stir in the kirsch, pepper and nutmeg and then place the mixture over the burner on the table.

To serve:

Spear bite-sized cubes of bread on to a fork and dunk them into the cheese. Stir until the bread is well-coated, then remove whilst rotating your fork to stop the cheese from dripping. Give the mixture a stir every time you dip into it and it will remain creamy down to the very bottom.

Useful tips:

• If the fondue is too thick, beat in a little warmed wine or kirsch.
•If the fondue is too thin, stir in some grated cheese over medium heat. If you have run out of cheese, add a little cornflour mixed with some white wine.
• If the cheese and wine separate, return to the stove and beat with a whisk over a high heat. If you keep on stirring as you eat, the fondue should not separate.
• Make sure everyone drinks plenty of wine.
• Get someone else to wash up the fondue pot.

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